30 years ago, the anti-racist fighter, Blair Peach was murdered by the police during the protests against a meeting held in Southall by the Fascist National Front. The day symbolised the powerful coming together of Anti-racist, Anti-Fascist women, men, young and old from a huge variety of backgrounds, resisting and prevailing against the racism used to divide people from their common struggles against the exploitation of working people by the capitalist system. The system focused on its drive for maximum rate of profit and shifting the burden of economic crisis on to the working people.
A meeting was organised by the Indian Workers Association (GB) to mark 30 years since the murder of Blair Peach by the racist special patrol police. The meeting was supported by Unite Against Fascism, Ealing branches of The Trades Unions Council and The National Union of Teachers. About 60 people attended the meeting. It was significant that the meeting was held in the Dominion Centre in Southall as this was the place where the body of Blair Peach was kept for a few days to allow the Southall community and people from all over the UK to pay their deep respects to the Anti-Racist, Anti=Fascist fighter. The historic event was marked by coverage by London BBC, Sunrise TV, the Asian community radio stations and a production of a special DVD made with assistance from the IWA (GB). The DVD is now complete.
Salvinder Dhillon spoke on behalf of the IWA (GB). Salvinder Dhillon pointed out that the system uses racism to divide working people to weaken them and divert them form their common struggles for a better livelihood and creation of a society free from racism and exploitation. Blair Peach symbolised the unity of working people in their common struggles and the struggle against racism is an integral part of those struggles. Salvinder Dhillon mentioned that communities subjected to racial harassment and racist attacks across the UK looked towards Southall to put halt to the rising tide of racism and the menace of the National Front. Only then there can be a future for national minorities to be able to live with respect and dignity. The heroic community of Southall with the support of working people coming together from other areas collectively dealt a blow to state sponsored racism and fascism and made history. Balwinder Rana, then an activist of the Anti Nazi League, cited how coach loads of people from all backgrounds, came from all parts of the UK and were prevented from entering Southall by the Special Patrol Police. Those who did manage to enter were attacked and arrested. Over 700 people were arrested that day and 450 youth severely injured by the brutality of the police. People heroically resisted the police onslaught, and prevented the National Front from having an open public meeting in the heart of Southall. Weyman Bennet from Unite Against Facism called on the community to stop the rise of the British National Party( BNP) as it was gaining ground in the electoral arena and spreading the poison of racism and fascism like the National Front earlier. John McDonnell, MP for Hayes cited his experience on that day and called for a broad united front against racism. Paul Holboro, leader of the Anti Nazi League at the time. Mentioned that with deepening of the current world economic crisis, we are again seeing in this country, the rise of racism and fascism. Again as in Southall 1979, we need the broadest unity of all progressive forces to meet the challenge. He also drew parallels with the recent murder of Ian Tomlinson by the police at the protests against the G20 gathering of countries in London. Nick Grant from National Union of Teachers, and Oliver New from the Ealing branch of Trades Unions Councils along with many other activists who fought together that day cited their experiences and emphasised the urgent need to collectively build the anti-racist movement as an integral part of the working class movement against exploitation and meet the challenges of time.